Covert Aggression Causes Gaslighting

Covert Aggression and Manipulation

Covert aggression underlies most interpersonal manipulation. True, you can manipulate others overtly. That is, you can be so confident of someone’s likely response that you don’t hesitate to show your hand. But most of the time, manipulators get their way by hiding their true agendas. They’re out to win, dominate, and control, but don’t want to appear so. Therefore, they cloak their aggressive intentions in a variety of clever tactics. And these tactics both intimidate and disarm others but still allow their user to look good. I speak to these tactics in all my books, especially In Sheep’s Clothing.

The “Gaslighting” Effect

Covert-aggressors exploit your good nature. Conscientious people possess good consciences, and are capable of shame and guilt. So, by pressing your guilt button or inviting you to feel ashamed, a skilled manipulator can easily sway you. And they can make you feel crazy for suspecting they’re up to no good. Their justifications sound so reasonable. And the way they cast you as a villain appears in some way valid. That’s how they get the better of you. It’s also the way they make you feel crazy. In your heart,  you sense they only mean to get the better of you. But you can’t objectively validate your hunch. And that can make you feel pretty crazy.

The crazy-making effect of covert aggression is called “gaslighting.” Some authors brand it a tactic in itself. And indeed, it can be a specific tactic. But most of the time, it results from any of the many manipulation tactics. And as mentioned last week, you can magnify its effect in several ways. (See: Gaslighting Victims Question Their Sanity.) You can put passion and conviction into the tactics. Or you can combine tactics in clever ways. The more a manipulator throws at you, and the more righteous they appear when doing so, the greater the gaslighting effect.

Gaslighting as a Specific Tactic

A manipulator can set out to make someone feel crazy. They sometimes do this for tactical, exploitative purposes. An example follows (as always, with details altered to preserve anonymity):

Marian thought she was truly losing her mind. She also thought she might be suffering some dementia. She had been looking for her spare house key for weeks. Marian always kept it in a particular place, for emergencies. But it simply disappeared one day. So when she finally found it, she began seriously questioning her mental state. Who would put it in an empty shoe box in her closet? She knew she wouldn’t. And who would wrap the box in a ribbon? Then it came to her.  And with the realization came the horror. It had to be Ralph’s doing. And to think she believed she’d finally escaped his grasp.

Marian left Ralph 9 months ago after years of abuse. And she had to move locations and change her phone number more than once to keep him at bay. She thought she finally wrested herself from his clutches. But he was sending her a message: escape would be impossible. He could find her, anytime, anywhere. The mere thought struck terror into her heart. He would always have the last say, it seemed. It wouldn’t be over until he said so. That left her feeling helpless and more than a little hopeless. But at least she didn’t feel crazy anymore. It wasn’t her after all. It was Ralph after all, …always Ralph!

Some Closing Thoughts

Covert aggression intimidates and controls. But one can intimidate in more overt ways, too. Abusers do whatever they have to do to maintain their grip. And when covert measures fail, they can easily resort to more overt means. Any abuse victim knows this. Unfortunately, they’ve often had to learn it the hard way.

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124 thoughts on “Covert Aggression Causes Gaslighting

  1. Craig Harrison

    Dec 2014


    Tears running down my cheek
    pain that can not be seen
    hiding the truth
    hiding my fears
    hiding everything that you can not see

    you never play over the good memories
    your mind tells you none exist
    just the bad, the ones that make you sad.
    Tears running down my cheek
    as I hide the truth
    and hide my fears

    You see the time, but no motivation
    nothing pushing to get you up
    nothing pushing you to do anything
    it’s comfortable, it’s warm, it’s the last remaining place where good things happen
    we see the time and decide to hide
    hide away in our beds
    hide away in our dreams

    Nothings wrong becomes your default response
    but deep down you know you need help
    but at the surface you convince yourself you are strong
    strong enough to win a battle that you are in fact losing
    so you hide
    you hide the truth
    your fears
    all while tears run down your cheek.



    1. Joey,
      The poem hits home to the depth of ones soul.

      Joey, let us know how the letter writing goes and where your at. I have some more thoughts for this too. Can I ask where your brother is and your relationship with him, does he have one with your father, if so was/is it a positive one? Only if you feel like answering, I am asking as it gives me more insight of what I am thinking about in respect to commenting further on your questions and going further.

      It is good to take your time and think things through. This way you will be prepared for whatever transpires and or your decision in what you will ultimately decide to do.

      Thank you for posting all the links that provide insight and knowledge and most of the beautiful poetry that hits home, builds one up and shines a light on beauty.


      1. Btov

        I am going to phone him, so I can control the convesation, and put the phone down with a firm bbbyyyeee. I do not need you.

        The point I wish to make, If I decide to contact my The father is: ” I have done relatively well, despite their emotional violence. I have purchased my own home. I now earn a reasonable wage. I have achived all this: and I DID IT WITHOUT YOU”.
        I have done this alone, In fact the VERY fact is that my life has seriously improved since I HAVE NOT SEEN OR SPOKEN TO THE BROTHER AND HIS BREED and or you Father.

        I wish to make it clear to him that I can COMPLETELY COPE AND SURVIVE WITHOUT HIM OR THE OTHER BREED.

        1. Joey,

          Could you please wait to make the call. You asked for my opinion. I have more I would like to say about this to you. Right now I have a friend from another state that is staying at my house to help me with things and any help I can get I have to take advantage of.

          I have been thinking of your situation a lot as I have had the same experience. My friend will be leaving in 10 days and in the meantime I am putting my thoughts on paper. regarding your question to me.

          I can’t tell you how impressed I am with all you have accomplished considering where you came from. It indeed is a difficult judgement call to make. Knowing the despairing place you have escaped from and then to build a life after all we have been through is an amazing task. Above all, to have done it alone.

          You bring tears to my eyes the resilience and determination you have displayed. Joey, when one can rise up after being under the thumb and in such a compromised position it shows your strength of character and above all courage. It gives me hope and encourages me to have the same strength to go on. You set an exemplary standard of excellence.
          Another character example is your compassion and love you showed in caring for your mother. Regardless of all the negativism and what she did to you, you came out the loving, caring, compassionate, and humble individual you are. Who you are is reflected on this blog, sharing, caring and reaching out to others. You are a winner , Joey and a wonderful person and I am honored you think so highly of me, I needed that positive stroke .

          For now my Kindred Spirit please let it set and let the others chime in.
          This way you can take all the input and advice and weigh what you want to do. Believe me you will gain strength from all the caring input.

          As I said, I have been pondering your situation and multi tasking here, a little while longer won’t make a difference as I know you have unbelievable patience and will use good judgement.

          Blessings dear one and a Big Hug

          1. Btov

            The best revenge is living well, I just wish to inform him, that I am living well.

            I will never recover from this life I have lived with the CD’S. BUT I can learn,and have learned to cope.
            The main reason for coping is ” It An’t my fault” and Dr Simon has made me see that

            I make bad decisions, I am not a bad person, I am just human

  2. Joey, that is heartbreakingly beautiful – and so true.
    I haven’t been on here in a while because I’ve had a wild summer. In March I bought a new house and moved. In April I got shingles. In May I got bitten by a tick and ended up with Rocky Mountain spotted fever. I was in the hospital for a week – terribly ill. Three weeks after I got home from that I had what I thought was a stroke – in the hospital for another four days. A month after that another “stroke” episode, they discovered I had meningitis- in the hospital for another two weeks – again very, very ill. As you can imagine, after six months I still have not finished moving in or unpacking all the boxes.

    Not only has this been hard physically – it has really affected me emotionally. I feel lost and alone. I couldn’t drive for two months and have had a hard time managing on my own. I’m staring at a stack of medical bills. I still have not regained my strength and the doctors told me it may be several more months.

    So, back to Gaslighting. I have decided even when you’ve been away from it for a couple of years ( I moved out of our house three years ago – the divorce was final last November ), it still has its effects on you. I may never get over his gaslighting.

    Now my problem – I have been missing my him. All summer – since I first got sick. Yes he was mean, he ignored me and pulled subtle gaslighting on me – but lately all I can remember are the good times. Whenever I was before he would help me. I have been married since I was 19 to him – I’m now 61. He was my entire life. I stayed for 40 years because I wanted him to like me – I didn’t want a divorce but I was losing my mind.

    There were times he was cruel. He told me I bored people and their eyes rolled back in their heads when I talked to them. ( this was after a 30 year high school reunion and when walking and I told him I was nervous. He knows my weaknesses and buttons).

    He told me I was lucky he included me with his friends. I work from home and I am very shy – so yes, most of our friends were his friends. But some of them had been our friends for 25 years. Most are from his industry – his business contacts – but I had stopped thinking of them as just his friends years ago. But none of them will have anything to do with me now. So I guess they were his friends even after all those years. I don’t really have many friends now – maybe one or two.

    He didn’t sleep in our bed for 30 years although I tried to talk to him about it several times a year – always with trepidation and anxiety. One of the last times I brought it up and asked him to please sleep with me because I missed intimacy – he told me to have an affair. Then months later when I tried to talk about it because it tore my heart out when he said it – he said ” Of course I didn’t mean that. You know that! ”

    But yes, there were the good times and like he always told me he was nice to me 95% of the time and nobody’s perfect. He told me I would never find happiness if I expected perfection out of people. So, not only am I remembering the good times – I’m now coming up with excuses for him as to why he was cruel to me at times. I’m beginning to convince myself that it was me and I was wrong. I’m feeling lonely and depressed. I feel like I made a mistake walking away from a 40 year marriage.

    To make it worse he has contacted me lately with a nice email asking me how I am doing after all the illness. He told me that when our kids told him and gave him updates on me that he had been very worried. He said it was probably very stupid of him to worry about me still – but he did.
    I wish the email had been mean and cruel – that would’ve been easier for me. I have been tempted to contact him and ask him if we can meet for dinner.

    Right now I need help to get through this. And I’m hoping you guys can help me put my head back on straight. The effects of gaslighting never end I’m afraid.

    1. Also, this is a man who after a 40 year marriage refused marriage counseling. I reached a point I had nothing else to do but move out and file for divorce.

      1. jean

        My councilor Daved said ” we move forward some times, we take pigeon steps, but we are moving forward”

        The only thing I can suggest is to see a councilor your self. If you are feeling depressed this is going to affect you more than any thing. I have been though this my self.
        Life has improved, It takes time. Take every day as it comes. Thats all anyone can do.

    2. Jean, I have social anxiety as well. Its easy to go back to what feels ‘comfortable’ and not have to put yourself in new stressful situations getting to meet new people. Its good you are posting here. I don’t know if you have other people that you love or friends that you can trust. I would start there, reaching out and meeting some potential friends. If you go to church its a great place to start. Or join some group where you can meet new people. I think the key is to create a support system for yourself so you are not so vulnerable to the situation your find yourself in. Some of what he told you sounds familiar, they really know how to push the buttons don’t they. I hope you find the strength to see him for what he is, and to not get sucked into the lies. Good advice above, please take it to heart, you are worth far more than that, you must believe it. Blessings to you Jean.

      1. Kat – I think that’s a large part of it. With feeling so sick for so long I’m looking for something familiar- something I’m used to.

    3. Jean,

      When we start to be removed from a situation somehow our minds start letting us forget the pain we suffer as maybe a coping mechanism. We forget the bad and start to think our situation might have actually been good, or not so bad. I think a great majority of people experience this and many people who are giving, kind and sensitive souls especially feel these emotions. All I can say, is please imagine if you were to have dinner with your Ex, and the moment when he shows his true character, your stomach will drop, you will feel overwhelmed with past emotions of your life with him and realize nothing has changed. It will bring you down so don’t go there. Remember why you left. Write it down and read it and remember the bad times so that you will have the strength to carry on.

      Also, keep telling yourself that you have had an incredibly difficult past 6 months and this is weakening your resolve. Just stay focused on why you left. You would not have left a 40 year marriage if there had not been an overwhelming good reason. His character is and always will be a deal breaker. You have come this far, now don’t look back.

      My thoughts and prayers are with you!!

    4. Jean,

      I am sorry to hear you have had such a hard time being ill. I do know how that is as I deal with chronic pain and many times am unable to do anything.

      More than anything I am glad you are posting again. This will help you not to feel so alone. It seems we have a lot in common. Age wise, having illnesses, being alone and missing the SOB’s.

      Jean, I still have many boxes I haven’t unpacked and its over 3 three years since I moved back into the house. I would had preferred to buy another, but to end things took back the house we lived in together for over 25 years. Still many memories, even though I bought other furniture. I am working hard on mind over material things that shouldn’t matter, far from easy.

      Yes, I still miss him at times as we did many things I enjoyed together and now can’t find anyone that has similar likes. I think it is good that we can remember the good things, however, we must face the truth of who they really are and how they treated us. When we get lonely, especially when we have been isolated and haven’t any friends, (which I blame on them) it is easy for us to and I hate to say it this way, but it is wanting to believe a lie.

      If you truly knew what a good relationship is and how you were cheated the fondness will wither. It seems you have difficulty like me getting angry, we should be hopping mad for how they treated us. Yours treated you differently that mine, but in the end it is all the same. They did not treat us to the dignity and respect one is entitled to by another human being especially our spouse. You didn’t treat him that way, but it was alright for you to be the doormat to be used and abused.

      When the fond memories intrude your thoughts remind yourself of all the times he treated you like a nothing, less than human.. How in the end he screwed you royally and left you with little. Under these circumstances it is good therapy to remember how bad he treated you.

      Jean, I am about the same age too, this is our opportunity to make these the best years of out lives. Living in the past and dwelling on how things could had been will keep us stuck. There is nothing you could ever say to make a difference. It is time to face the fact they never really loved us but used us. Not a pretty picture or reality to accept, remember the truth will set us free and the truth of the matter is they are extremely, demented, sick puppies that can be vindictive, hatful and enjoy seeing us in pain.

      I used to find excuses too, that is why I stayed so long. You are coming up with excuses I believe because you are believing the lies he told you about yourself, stop agreeing with him and face the facts he was a liar the same as mine. It wasn’t me, I would had done almost anything to make it work and I did for many years, I covered and assumed his work on top of mime. I came out a healthier person, heart broken, but nonetheless, I did the right thing for myself.

      I felt many times and justified I should had stayed especially at this stage of the game. I will tell you Jean, one thing the CDN hates is weakness, they can handle one being ill, he would not had cared a hoot you were ill, rather he would be irate that he had to do something, put on a front that he cared for you at the same time hating you for putting him out and how dare you disfunction.

      Jean, whatever you do, no matter how low you feel, DO NOT respond to him. The jerk took so much from you and treated you so badly, how would you feel letting him steal more of you and then having him kick you in the teeth and walk away. If you have come this far and go back you will waste more of your life, don’t do it, all you will do is start at square one, more wounded than the first time.

      If you feel that in need and lonely, you are more than welcome to contact me through Dr. Simon. More than anything I want to see you get through this and many times talking to another kindred spirit that has gone through the same thing and successfully got though it can help. Its paying forward to those that helped me.

      Keep posting, it will help you to get over him as you will receive the positive reinforcements to combat going through this difficult time.

      Take care and be kind to yourself.

      1. BTOV – Thank You! Your words are like a blanket I wrapped around myself this morning.
        I am so glad I posted how I felt a couple of days ago. The responses have encouraged me and propped me up while I am feeling so vulnerable. Ambers post also straighten my head out because in responding to her it reminded me of why I left – why I had to leave.
        Thank you everyone – I will re-read all your comments for quite a while.

    5. Jean, reading your post was like reading my own thoughts. I am truly effected by your feelings and fear of the possibility of having made a mistake. I have been reading these articles and blogs lately, mostly feeling very confident in my conclusion that I must also leave my marriage. I do however, wonder why I feel the need to read this stuff constantly, as if I am looking to convince myself this must be my truth. Continually looking for the exact same description over and over, the more it resembles my experience, the better. I am really not comfortable with this sudden and recent explosion of info regarding narcissistic relationship/abuse, and the pattern of vagueness and generalizing it offers to explain the narc personality. The more I think about this, the more I realize that I am well aware of people, personalities, and differences. I’m afraid that Far too many people may be walking away from one of life’s great accomplishments, sharing your entirety with another imperfect person! We have all been told marriage is not easy, it’s work and dedication. Some of these professionals are suggesting that way of thinking to be what keeps us trapped in this cycle. Yes, I know that abuse is real and I know many times victims will try and justify the acts and blame themselves. On the flip side, this fairly new narcissistic behavior can be demonstrated at one time or another in every imperfect person I’ve encountered, including myself. One common complaint I read on these blogs is the selfishness of the narcissist. Everyone talks about that a lot. I have yet to read a single comment inquiring of ones own selfishness? I’m not leaning towards this narcissistic personality being a falsehood, I am strongly considering the possibility that it has been falsely excepted by many people who are struggling with varying degrees of unhappiness with a loved ones behavior. I know my husband can be an a**hole and he resembles tons on these lists, but so can I. In a nut shell, I think it is equally dangerous to stumble upon this information when you just so happen to be the sensitive and emotional half in your whole union. I believe, after consuming myself with this info, that my original beliefs about relationships and people were good enough for me. I will no longer look for answers or people to influence what are my most intimate aspects of my life and who I choose to love. I do not love myself less because I may choose to love someone who challenges me. It will make me stronger either way it plays out!

      1. Also, please excuse my possible narcissistic behavior in my comment. My intention was to respond to you , I didn’t realize that my responding was going to turn into exactly what I personally needed to hear. I am only hopeful that maybe it did something for you as well.

        1. Amber, thank you for commenting. I realize that I too am an imperfect person. We all are. I think each relationship situation is different though and it depends on the level of imperfection you discover in the other person. I could no longer handle my ex’s. It was making me doubt myself, become severely depressed and sometimes spending days in bed confused and not wanting to face the day.
          In my situation, after many years I discovered the extent of his deception. I discovered that he and our accountant – who happened to be one of his good friends – had taken all of my income for the last 10 years and applied it to his Social Security number on our tax returns ( I work for myself so this was easy for them to do). He said he did it to SAVE US money on our taxes. He was believable hen he said that was his motivation, he was outraged with me for being upset. I began to think I was being nit picky ( that’s how good he is at making me feel like I’m the one out of line ) but in claiming my income he raised the amount of his Social Security monthly check he will get after retirement and lowered mine.
          During the divorce it was calculated that I have lost around $425 a month – every month for the rest of my life. And I didn’t know they were doing this – with MY income.
          I found out from one of those forms Social Security sends you every few years listing your earned income and estimated benefits. Mine showed $0 income for the past 10 years. I had never noticed this had been done as our tax return was always very complicated and dozens of pages. My fault – but I trusted. I now have trouble trusting people.
          I also found he was lying to my elderly parents about me. For years they didn’t tell me what he was saying because they also believed him. And they worried about the things he said.
          But during the divorce they finally told me some of his lies – they said he always acted like he was telling them these things out of concern for me – because he loved me so much and he was concerned about me. It makes me sick that he worried my 89 and 90 year old parents for years. That’s not only cruel to me but to them as well.
          Amber, these things were his “imperfections”. These were things I couldn’t live with. Maybe another woman would but I couldn’t. I felt I wasn’t living with someone who had my back – in fact, I found I had to watch my back! That is no way to live.
          But, on the surface he always acted like he loved me and cared about me – that’s how my experience of gaslighting played out – I became so terribly confused by how he acted to my face and what I found out he did and said behind my back. Gaslighting.
          It was a nightmare. Before the truths started surfacing he would say or do something that hurt me terribly (which I didn’t realize) – and then I would run to him for comfort. He was my “comforter” when I was affected by these things. Acting like my rock. It was sick.
          It sounds like your husbands imperfections are normal imperfections found in a normal person. You don’t sound emotionally torn. In your case maybe you should stay – you may have a normal marriage with it’s expected good days and bad days.

          1. Jean
            I had some things happen in the marriage regarding finances that I was fooled and taken advantage of as well. Maddens me to no end. our Xs did not show love. We were used. You sound firm in your reality and I’m sure you won’t be going back to that jackass. He should NEVER BE TRUSTED EVER! He stole your future, as did mine.
            And what he did with you at the reunion, talking of eye rolling. Never happened! Adults don’t behave that way. He out you in an immediate down position to control you like a puppy dog.
            Jean, I know you are just fine. We all have weak moments especially when Ill and tired. You will be fine. Inca read your post and be sure you’ll be fine

          2. Jean,

            Sorry you dealt with so much. Glad you’re out!

            In regards to Social Security. In the U.S. a spouse or ex spouse is entitled to claim his/her spouses Social Security. Many spouses stay home with the kids so they do not have their own S.S.

            You can claim your former spouses benefits. You’ll get the greater of yours, or 1/2 of his. You have to have been married for 10 or more years and not remarry before age 60. If they die before you, you can also get survivor benefits.

            You can find this info on the S.S. website. Be careful if you call S.S. and ask as I’ve found the folks answering the phones often have no idea what they are talking about and give incorrect information. If you have a trusted financial advisor, they can likely help you or refer you to someone who can.

        2. Amber,

          First of all you didn’t come across as narcissistic in the sense the CD is. We all have some narcissism, however, the narcissism, is a healthy narcissism. I believe at the stage you are at you keep reading this material because you are looking for answers, validation and perhaps hoping to find an answer to disable his CDN. What happens, the longer we read about the CDN the more it will confirm what we dread most, the person we love is a Narcissist, where on the continuum will reveal itself with time.

          I think completely opposite regarding the explosion of information. It’s fairly easy to discern who the reputable people are to listen to. There is no solid evidence to weigh such as blood tests, Xray’s that the CDN can have done to confirm a diagnosis. Scientific research is now showing many of these individuals brains light up in different areas or are deplete in areas of normal individuals. I said this in a rather simplistic way.

          First of all when one starts reading these blogs and sights ones is looking for something, mainly because something is wrong in their relationships with an individual who is presenting with in a CD dysfunctional way. One is looking for answers as to why these people are acting and thinking the way they do, we are distraught and are looking for answers.

          When one is in a positive relationship with others reading these blogs isn’t something one wants to naturally do unless one studies these individuals on academic level.

          You state you display narcissistic behavior, it isn’t uncommon for two narcissist to team up, perhaps, you may have some CD traits that you can work on to change. When is a relationship with the CDN one doesn’t tend to display all there good qualities, mainly they are placed in a position of always having to defend themselves and wonder what did I do wrong now, a continual struggle and it is always our fault.

          Perhaps at times you have engaged with the CDN, only you know your reasons for the exchange. Was the exchange about you asserting your wants and needs? The CDN are masters of getting one to engage and then project all of their negative behaviors onto us. Yes, I will accept 10% of the failure to communicate in the relationship, that is it.

          I was grateful to finally find answers as to why the CDN acts the way they do. I was glad to know it wasn’t me. I was glad to finally have concrete answers into this sickness of the mind, heart and soul of these extremely sick individuals that run rampant in our society.

          Being selfish is a CD that can be worked on, being narcissistic is a whole Pandora’s Box. I would suggest finding a good therapist that know CD’s and what constitutes narcissism and get yourself first and then him into therapy and then see what happens.

          If you are searching this blog for answers, I would say there is probably strong evidence that you are dealing with a CDN, whether you want to accept the fact is another issue, if you feel you can change the situation or make it work by changing your behavior, good luck.

          Many of us are looking back at all the red flags we ignored or didn’t understand do to lack of information on Narcissism. CDN is a serious problem in our society today and it is getting worse in this selfie world. In years past many had no clue to what and who they were dealing with and stayed, many times so worn down they just gave up and became a shell of their former self. Many stayed due to financial reasons.

          With the information that is being widely decimated by credible people in the field and the unending stories told by victims of the CDN only confirms, validates and solidifies the CDN epidemic in society today.

          As you say I don’t love myself any less, I do love myself with healthy esteem, the CDN cannot do this. If you choose to love someone that is a CDN is your choice, I loved mine. What has to be weighed is “What do you want or are will to put up with and accept? Do you want to be 60 years old and say to yourself I can’t put up with this anymore and want peace, then wonder why you stayed so long?

          Just a thought to remember, they do get worse as they age and it isn’t pretty. Narcissism is like a cancer that grows, perhaps at a slow rate, but nonetheless grows.

          When I decided to leave and end the relationship I did love him, I did not like him. It takes a great amount of strength to let someone you love sink to the bottom and at the bottom is the only hope of the CDN to reach out and admit they have a problem. When we stay we only encourage and enable this sickness. Above all we remain sick on another plane. Not until we leave and yes go NC and get our own heads on straight can we see clearly as the fog lifts and we see the whole truth. This realization comes with time, it does not happen over night. Unfortunately, it is a grueling difficult process. There is no set time for this to happen, we all deal with it in our own way, for some the time is rather short for others the times is painfully long to let go.

          We may always love them but in a heathy way from afar. It is like a death respectively, we go through stages. The person we thought was there was never real and will never be. I realize I lived a lie, the CDN is a confabulated lie and we must realize this or it will consume us. Learn to pigeon hole it and go on, otherwise, we will lose the rest of our lives living on what ifs.

          Amber, I would encourage you to keep reading and welcome you to keep posting. Hopefully, you will come to some resolution of what will be best for you. In all I think you have confirmed many of your worst fears and it will be an inner battle of acceptance.

          One thing all must never ignore or forget, “They know what they are doing…………………….”

          Blessings and take care.

      2. Amber

        Narcissistic behavior is not relatively new. The Bible warns about these types of people throughout the many pages. There are warnings and words of wisdom told throughout every culture that depicts these dark souls in one form or another. Further there is nothing vague or general about narcissism either. This is taken from the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM4TR):

        A person only need to meet 6 of the below listed diagnostic criteria to qualify for NPD.

        3.01.81 Narcissistic Personality Disorder – Diagnostic Criteria

        A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behaviour), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

        1. has a grandiose sense of self importance e.g. exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognised as superior without commensurate achievements
        2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love
        3. believes he or she is special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with other special or high-status people (or institutions)
        4. requires excessive admiration
        5. has a sense of entitlement, i.e. unreasonable expectations of especially favourable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
        6. is interpersonally exploitive i.e. takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
        7. lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognise or identify with feelings and needs of others
        8. is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of them
        9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

        As far as I am concerned way too many people within the current population suffer this insidious form of mental disorder which Dr Simon rightly refers to as character disturbance. Too many people are out there to get what they can off anybody who happens upon their fancy. They are entitled and feel entitled to take anything they life from anybody they like.

        They are a wretched, putrid disease on the face of this planet. If you enjoy being abused by these types perhaps it is because you suffer from a high degree of masochism. Perhaps you were raised by abusive parents and feel this type of abuse is just fine because you are conditioned to accept it.

        Some of us were not raised by abusers, are not conditioned to this type of behavior and will not tolerate it or accept it under any circumstances. Till death do you part from one of these monsters my butt.

        I for one have a great deal of self respect. I am not perfect either but I know I am not an asshole and I do not take others for granted or treat others harshly or unkindly. I do not engage in maltreatment of others period. I expect to be treated the same.

        Now that I have had my fair share of them across all walks of life and in various relationships I now know how to recognize them early in the piece. This gives me the benefit of turning and running immediately because that is exactly what I will be doing in future.

        If you are content to stay with an abuser by all means do but I would strongly suggest you don’t encourage others to do the same.

          1. Joey

            I am glad you raised that, it actually opens up a whole new can of worms. I totally agree with you on that comment Joey. The entire NPD diagnostic criteria may well be included in the prospectus for University studies of the following:

            Pre-requisite character traits for those considering entering into Political Science, Economics and Commerce, Masters of Business Administration.

            Yes they enriched themselves at the expense of the rest of the world – people and environment included. What did congress do about it aside from a lot of meetings and senate hearings that nobody ever heard about unless you tapped in and watched them on CSPAN which I did and was thoroughly disgusted. Nothing, Jack Shit, ZIP.

            The same regulations are still in place today that allowed the banks to rob the planet and have a field day (decade) of gluttony and unfettered greed of Wall St Casino betting and gambling with other people’s money thanks to de-regulation introduced by Clinton 1.

            Psychopath central – just about every CEO and their henchmen are psychopaths, they scored the highest in their desired character traits for their respective degrees. After you really have to be one if you have an express desire to rape, pillage and burn the entire world. What was it George Soros once said “Power is the greatest aphrodisiac” he should know.

      3. Amber,

        CD, as Dr.Simon has taken pains to describe, exists on a continuum. Narcissism can be fear or aggression based and on a continuum. It’s not cut and dried or black and white.

        And yes, we have to be self aware and understand when we are being narcissistic, histrionic — because we are all like that from time to time.

        But…that isn’t to say those who have sporadic episodes of narcissism are responsible for the abuse they suffer at the hands of full blown and extreme jerks and or CD’s though.

        1. LisaO – Yes Dr Simon and a good many others have taken great pains to help us to identify these cursed humans.

          Although I have a feeling I know what you are getting at I don’t really agree that everybody is narcissistic or histrionic some times. Some people are never that way and in fact have no boundaries whatsoever. There is healthy narcissism in so much as a person who is able to strongly uphold their boundaries and not allow others to walk rough shod all over them. The human condition is interesting to say the very least. I’ve made it a lifetime study.

          Some people have unhealthy levels of narcissism at play for sure but are not full blown NPD. These are the neurotics who can respond to treatment and/or able to heal themselves. The same with histrionic. These people are able to recognise and determine their behavior is having a negative affect on others and eventually deal with it once they are able to admit and own their own behaivor. Full blown narcs never will.

          I recall in a post you put up a few weeks ago you gave a description of yourself when you were a lot younger. For the record we sound very much alike in our earlier wilder years!

          Being curious, I actually put myself though the Narc test compiled by Melanie Tonia-Evans and did a then and now. I did it in three stages and what I found was rather interesting. I did the test based on how I was before my first huge shock which put me into the dark night of the soul the first time. That was after the suicide of a former partner.

          The second period was after I did the work and rectified and ironed out a lot of my early maladaptive childhood schemas and got on top of my personality. In other words not allowing my personality to control me allowing myself to become more authentic. I became a much better person for that and improved vastly. HOWEVER! Here is the tricky bit and was another huge eye opener I had.

          While that may be all very well and good, the fact is I crashed all my boundaries in doing so. I swung the other way to a dangerous level and became food for CD. Before I would have met them head on and locked horns. This never ends well. It becomes a battle of the egos. I subdued myself from reacting when I should have been a lot more assertive just less combative. I’m pretty sure I have corrected this imbalance so I did the Narc Test.

          Period One late 20’s to mid 30’s
          I came in as having insecurities impacting on relationships and causing harm to myself and others in the first score just short, about 20 points, of unhealthy narcissism.

          Post self work commencing at late 30’s to recent
          Then I came in at having insufficient boundaries – a much lower score than previously and not being able to assert myself healthily. Which is in direct contrast as to previously. I already had that much figured out the test just confirmed it really. I became less hard alright but entirely too soft. I sort of went from hard boiled to under cooked.

          Then when I had the living shit kicked out of me by the recent set of horrific events. Something happened. It was a different type of emotional processing this time around albeit extreemly painful and harrowing. No different or worse than anybody else here has suffered. But I managed to fall on my feet and reinforce some major boundaries.

          When I did the test based on now. I ended up with what I’d consider a healthy score. Healthy narcissism which is totally the opposite of unhealthy narcissism. People with healthy levels of narcissism are able to stand up for themselves and what they want. They are able to firmly assert themselves in order to have their needs met. They don’t trample over others to get what they want or need. They have empathy, compassion and understanding for others.

          Being with CD over extended periods of time will totally shatter a person’s sense of self. It is vital to recover our core self in order to live a life where we can be authentic. This however does have pitfalls when being authentic around CD. It’s best to identify them early and there are distinct signs and red flags.

          I for one won’t tolerate abuse by anybody. Nor do I have the stomach to put up with people who are emotionally immature, it’s just not worth my time or energy. As far as I am concerned I think it’s high time humanity grew up and I believe as a result of CD among us they are pushing us to do just that. As they are incapable of doing it I often ponder on their fate.

          1. Hi Eudoxia,

            Thanks for taking the time to respond in such detail! You have obviously had a really REALLY tough time and all throughout your life, too. Such misery to have to deal with and for so long.

            I am naturally somewhat aggressive for a woman. Not mean aggressive, but I can be a bit pushy and narrow angle focussed at times. I am kind but not necessarily as ‘gentle’ as I’d like to be. I consider my desire to win arguments to be partly rooted in having strong convictions. But it can also be narcissistic. I’m not ashamed of it, but am trying to change. The reason I bring up shame is because I feel that shame kept me from facing who I was. It kept me from improving.

            The dynamics that can unfold on forums when victims of a targeted attack describe their own process of self improvement are very interesting. For example…the targeted attack by a man I consider a covert psychopath, relates to my ‘voyage of self discovery,’ up to a point. But, it is not the cause of the attack and the outcome could have been worse if I didn’t have some narcissism in my nature…be it healthy or unhealthy.

            I stood up to the P and told him I always would, that he could count on it. I was stubbornly resistant to his suggestions that I take half my husband’s assets when I divorced. I told him I wouldn’t do that as it was legal but unethical, (in my case.) He ghosted me a few weeks later.
            So I guess that part is an example of healthy Narcissism. But I have to still work on traits of Narcissism that aren’t healthy. That doesn’t mean I consider myself a malignant Narcissist though! Not at all. I just want to be a better person and pay careful attention to things about myself that I know others have taken issue with!

          2. Hi LisaO

            Thanks for sharing that insight about yourself, you speak openly and candidly about you. This is in and of itself a very emotionally healthy thing to do and you are direct and to the point. This is something I don’t struggle with either. You may well have been talking about me in so many ways. This is why I think we are very a like – I think you and I may be the same personality type Lisa. You have probably heard me mention a system known as The Enneagram it’s one I have a great deal of respect for and what helped me immensely to get in touch with my own core nature.

            My type of personality is a very direct and strong willed one. We don’t mess around, we call a spade a spade, we don’t shy away from a challenge, we are energized by challenges. We are no push overs and certainly not shy wall flowers – anything but. We are not for the feint hearted. We speak openly and candidly.

            When this personality over identifies with the power side they can become very hard hearted and tough. They are slow if not down right reluctant to show their gentle altruistic side. What they are doing is hiding their vulnerability behind a tough facade – a cloak of invisibility so to speak. What lies beneath is rarely seen by others because it could be perceived as weak. An Eight in over identification mode will never allow themselves to be perceived as weak or vulnerable.

            Eight’s aren’t shy to express their anger either. They generally do so directly and at the cause of their anger, in other words they can healthily express their anger. They don’t generally take it out on others depending on the level of ego fixation though. If they are unhealthy you don’t want to be anywhere around them! Unhealthy eights are capable of becoming sociopathic – true. Are more than capable of murder or burning your house down. But that is only when that type goes into PATHOLOGICAL DESTRUCTION. That’s at the unhealthy end of the continuum. Personality disorders manifest at the unhealthy level of the continuum for all types.

            Eights are largely created by unhealthy narcissistic levels in their fathers. They are ambivalent to the maternal figure and learn how to become the little boss early in life. Or they may have had narcissistic fathers who were abusive. My father had unhealthy narcissisim but didn’t qualify for NPD not to my knowledge or memory anyway. Eights come across as having masculine as opposed to feminine energy this applies to female eights also.

            They are also very loud – as in they talk loudly. I remember 3 of us having a conversation once (all women) and seriously, if you didn’t know us you would swear we were having a huge argument. We weren’t we just weren’t in agreement on certain things and were able to express ourselves freely about it without causing offense to each other. We were actually having a good time, but that is not what anybody else would have thought at the time.

            Eights don’t just want to have a discussion they want to HAVE A DISCUSSION. They enjoy intensity and for that reason they can come across as quite scary. I can tell you once upon a time……… I had a CEO who actually hide from me he was so intimidated, but hey I was just doing my job. I bailed him up in the toilets – they were Unisex ones! I had come out of ego fixation and was on the uphill climb at the time but my personality suited the job and I did my job well – I had to I was in a male dominated environment.

            That personality type suits certain professions. I was in construction risk management at the time and the particular CEO had a lot of high level risks on the risk register that were dangerously trending, he was the risk owner I had to nail him and pin him down – it worked! His PA was another eight, and I recognised her and where she was on the contiuum so I was able to get her on side. I gave her his power and had to relinquish some of mine but she loved it and responded very nicely, things started to get done. Whilst my behavior could be viewed as somewhat narcissistic, I did what I had to do. The outcome established itself and I was able to negotiate a win/win which required compromise.

            It’s a personality type that doesn’t crave attention so much as control. An eight doesn’t need to be the centre of attention but likes to know they have their finger on the pulse at all times and they are in control. Of course when they over identify they can become tyrants but all personality types at the unhealthy levels of their paridigm are horrific. Eights greatest challenge is relinquishing control over every aspect of their life. It’s something I learned to do. The core personality is still there but because the Enneagram is fluid at the healthy end of the scale Eights more resemble Type 2.

            What you appear to be describing Lisa is your personality. For the fact you did not take half your husbands assets when you could demonstrates you are inclined to fairness and are loath toward injustice. This is another Eight attribute. They hate injustice and will often come to the defense of the underdog. They might be harsh but are generally fair (again dependent on where they are on the contiuum).

            Eights are not the type who would manipulate covertly if they ever did they would be very overt. They would see covert manipulation as an act of cowardice which it is. If you pissed off an eight you will see them coming and they’ll let you know they are too! Nothing shy about them coming forward. You will always know where you stand with an Eight you won’t be having to second guess because they will tell you how it is under no uncertain terms.

            It is the one personality type above all others who can really confound and upset the narcissists apple cart because they have a keen and highly developed instinct for detecting lies and deceit. They don’t or rather won’t play the game. They can sniff out the game and it’s pretty well game over at that point.

            Because their primary center is the moving instinct center (intuition/ instinct) secondary is the intellectual center, they tap into their emotional center last and sometimes not at all. Ascension for all personality types occurs when all 3 centers are in balance. This is the challenge for all types and the aim of the game is Level 1 which is maximum potential.

            There are 9 types of personality and within each of those 9 types are 9 levels of psychological development ranging from healthy at Level 1 to pathological destruction at Level 9. This system is truly amazing I highly encourage anybody to understand how it works and use it as a springboard for their own psychological development and self growth work.

            All types are here. Lisa it’s open at Type 8. If I am correct and you are type 8 what you are describing isn’t unhealthy narcissistic traits although it can be but it sounds to me more like a penchant for moving against others. This is described in Karen Horney’s 3 trends of psychodynamics as indicted by the 3 styles of interpersonal movement : away from, toward and against others. This article can also be found at the below link which by the way is founded by a psychiatrist Dr Jerome Wagner who is a heavy advocate of the Enneagram.

            Enjoy I hope!

          3. oops sorry forgot the link


            It’s going to be back to front now because it will appear at the top when it should be at the bottom. I meant to reply to LisaO but could not due to no reply button so I had to reply to me. Now this will appear where it shouldn’t be appearing! If that makes sense.

            Now does’t that sound sane! Just as well this is a psychiatrist’s site LOL

        2. Amber
          I understand all too well the conflicting realization that perhaps your loved one is narcissistic. I knew something was wrong but my husband is very cunning and covert in his manipulations that I didnt truly see his true self. However, after 1st becoming educated about CD I began to analyze him more…really looking at all the ways he wasnt pathological…minimizing his behavior. I can understand falling into and then out of love but what I have a hard time comprehending that maybe there was never any love…that it was all a ruse. I still struggle with this.

          My 1st search planted the seed and over several months I finally came to accept who my husband is. I am sad for me and my children. I still struggle with this acceptance but I am gentle with myself. Life is not a competition. There are no winners or losers. I am in no rush to fix things. It is what it is. I am learning to let go of my husband and the fantasy of what might have been.

          I hope Amber that your quest brings you to your authentic self. Take care of yourself.

          1. Patti, You sound exactly like me! Exactly. I loved my husband and wanted him to Love me. He may never have. That is something that is difficult for me to think about.
            I loved him, but I hated the way he treated me. I was married 40 years but the last 20 were the worst – but I stayed. Trying.

          2. Jean.
            I am sure we are very similar in many ways. The hardest part for me isnt the subtlely abusive behavior my husband displayed but that he may never truly loved me at all. This is a hard pill to swallow. I havent fully digested this yet.

            I have been with my husband for 22yrs…married for 15. Most years were good but the bad times seemed to over shadow the good.

    6. Dear Jean
      I am sitting here crying having read that. Is all can tell you at this point, except my heart goes out to you and you are a wonderful woman

  3. Jean, as an outsider reading your account of your former spouse’s treatment of you, I want to affirm that he was incomprehensibly cruel to you. There is absolutely no excuse, and no “good deeds” that outweigh them. He dehumanized you, and I am so angry and sickened by his thievery and destruction. He had no right! God will judge! The fact that you suffered and he did not care proves he did not love you, and was just pretending to all the while, and is continuing to pretend now. You have my utmost respect for submitting to the excruciating truth and departing, when you had so many years invested, and so much genuine affection for him. You demonstrated true and uncommon courage. I am absolutely heartbroken to hear of your suffering, and extend my deepest caring to you. Stand strong in the truth, blessed are those who take refuge in God.

  4. Your loneliness is understandable but temporary; however, your ex-husband’s pathology is permanent. He has not changed and his attempts to hoover proves this. You need to try to get a councillor. Or if you cant afford this there are on-line courses that are more affordable. has a post pathological course/workshop by Sandra L Brown

      1. I know all too well…sometimes its easy to hold onto a glimmer of hope. But your husband, just like mine, will never change….they are fixed which is sad. But we need to use our sadness to change the things we can. Serenity Prayer. Knowingthe difference between what we can and cannot change is the MOST important part.

        By reaching out to this forum you have perhaps stopped yourself from re-contacting your husband. Give yourself credit for doing that.

  5. Jean

    You are worn out dear. That’s a lot of big health problems back to back and of course you’re feeling weakened and down.
    I think right now you need a caring friend, but not the X. Remember, hrs. I good for you emotionally or spiritually. You’re just feeling down right now, sick and tired. You’re thinking that a little piece of him might be better than nothing.
    It’s got to be awful being ill with no one there to take care of you. The selfish jackass I was married to did not care take period, the selfish jerk. Your husband maybe would treat you even worse now that you’re ill
    I’m sorry for you. Just acknowledge that you are weakened, and yes sad, but it’s temporary. You will get better and heal and live a life without that dark cloud hovering. You’re a good person and deserve the best.
    I ha r a good friend whom you remind me of. She gets tired and reverts back to the old thinking of its her fault and he’s not so bad. I hate to see that. YOU KNOW THE TRUTHS.
    I wish you the best.

    1. Hi Lucy! Yes, I think I DO know the true. Loneliness and a bit of feeling sorry for myself is making me feel this way. I need to remember this will be temporary. I just need to concentrate on my health and feeling better – thank you!

  6. Hi Jean,

    When he said you were boring etc…etc…what were the circumstances? You were at a high school reunion but was there anything that precipitated these remarks? Were you having an argument?

    So sorry you are having such a hard time. Being so sick and vulnerable must be awful! Are your kids nearby?

    1. There was no argument at the reunion – but there was an industry party (he’s in the music industry) that he wanted to go to instead. My reunion had been planned for a couple of months – then this other party came up the same night) We left the reunion after only an hour (he told me he had to get me out of there) and we went to the music party.

      1. Jean – that’s because he wasn’t the center of attention that party was about you seeing old friends again. CD can’t stand anything about you period. You are not the lead role in their production they are and in their eyes you better not forget it! That’s one of their defining points. It is and always ever be ABOUT THEM.

  7. Jean,

    Oh, he insulted you because he was being a big self indulgent baby. I get it. How super mean and callous.

    Like Lucy says, you are just worn to a frazzle right now. Give yourself a huge pat on the back for having the guts to leave and suspend all decisions for the time being — including getting together with him for dinner or coffee.

    You are a VERY strong person. What you have gone through would have broken most people. Try to remember that…as shy and anxious as you are, you were always the stronger one in the relationship. Your husband sounds like a sorry sack of…well ask Lucy!!

    1. Y’all are helping!!! Thank you – I guess I just need some validation right now. Thoughts circling in my head over and over are never a good thing. Thank you!

      1. Jean,

        You’ve got plenty coming. I just posted an extensive post, it’s waiting moderation for some reason. This has happened before and it generally goes up but I don’t know how long that will take. It’s pretty long.

        Jean narcissists don’t live they survive. When we are involved with them they make damn sure we just survive as well but they won’t allow us to live either. They will always ALWAYS bring us down to their level where they reside via soul rape.

        Please do not even consider breaking NC just yet. You are at a very vulnerable stage. It is important to get past this stage. I will leave you with this link for now, please listen.

        Big Huggzzzzzzzzz to you.

  8. Jean,

    I’m so sorry you hear about your health issues. This does unfortunately happen. 40 years of abuse takes its toll out on you in more ways than emotionally. People who have been subject to this type of abuse can end up with all sorts of physical ails on top of their emotional turmoil. Constant emotional roller coastering is severe and exceedingly pernicious.

    I was left physically injured also as a result of the two major battles with NSpath in the course of my life. Both resulted in the death of another, the first a suicide then the second was the (what I believe) premature death of my mother. Not that she would have lived but I believe the events that panned out thanks to my daughters lies caused my mothers health to decline rapidly. I ended up with chicken pox after the first at a time I needed to be back at work – I believe God had other ideas that prevented me from going. I was far from ready. The second time around I had hyperkalemia – potasium deficiency, this can be life threatening. I fully recovered my health on both counts and you will too.

    As much as I wish it was it’s not simply a case of us picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off and moving on. The recovery process of CDMNSP abuse is slow and methodical. What these people do is nothing short of soul rape. They have been sucking our life force out of us for years and it has a huge impact. We need to fully recover ourselves and it is crucial to have a trusted support group during the process.

    Jean please understand that the man you spent 40 years of your life with is a living nightmare. He is a soul rapist. What I think would be of huge benefit to you at this time is to listen to HG Tudor Knowing the Narcissist. He takes you straight into their twisted dark, cold, callous mercilous minds and he tells you under no uncertain terms all about their kind. Tudor is NSpath. I learned a great deal about they way they think and especially about how they view others – this is hugely important. We go through certain stages of our recovery and you are at a particular vulnerable and painful stage of this process. This is the stage of the process where we are particularly vulnerable to self sabotage. Please don’t put yourself at further risk now.

    Narcissists do not love us. They do not care for us. We are nothing other than a source of fuel for narcs. We are an appliance, nothing more. The only thing they are genuinely good at is lying, treachery and deceit. Malignant narcissists DESTROY PEOPLE – PERIOD. You are no exception. If you genuinely reflect on your relationship you will find the happy times were one way – his. That’s not a level playing field and it never will be. It is their way not yours. They are entitled to take and you are expected to give with or without gratitude – they’ll take it either way.

    I have posted the below a few time previously I will do again for your benefit.

    When I say that evil has to do with killing, I do not mean to restrict myself to corporeal murder. Evil is that which kills spirit. There are various essential attributes of life — particularly human life — such as sentience, mobility, awareness, growth, autonomy, will. It is possible to kill or attempt to kill one of these attributes without actually destroying the body. Thus we may “break” a horse or even a child without harming a hair on its head.

    Erich Fromm was acutely sensitive to this fact when he broadened the definition of necrophilia to include the desire of certain people to control others-to make them controllable, to foster their dependency, to discourage their capacity to think for themselves, to diminish their unpredictability and originality, to keep them in line. Distinguishing it from a “biophilic” person, one who appreciates and fosters the variety of life forms and the uniqueness of the individual, he demonstrated a “necrophilic character type,” whose aim it is to avoid the inconvenience of life by transforming others into obedient automatons, robbing them of their humanity.

    Evil then, for the moment, is the force, residing either inside or outside of human beings, that seeks to kill life or liveliness. And goodness is its opposite. Goodness is that which promotes life and liveliness.”
    ― M. Scott Peck, People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil

    Jean my heart pours out to you. I know what you are going through I truly do and so do many others here. Please listen to HG Tudor, let him take you into his dark mind because it is the mind of all of them. I have included a couple of UTubes from Smakintosh – this guy endured an entire history of familial abuse and then his first wife was CD as well. He knows then inside and out also.

    The important right now for you, is to fully understand and accept what your ex husband is. You can’t love him back into good health. He will be particularly appealing now you are physically debilitated. He will pounce on you like a lion onto a an injured gazelle and he will continue his abuse. You got away, for this you WILL BE PUNISHED if he has his way. It is the only way they deal with this recalcitrant behavior of ours in their eyes you see. You will be putting yourself in grave danger if you consider breaking NC. Please slow down and give yourself some more time to ensure you know their kind inside and out.

    It is important to have a solid support group, is it critical. I found this group here and it was a life saver for me. It is a good core group and God knows we’ve all been through hell and back. We are all within our own various stages of recovery. The recovery of self is paramount. The recovery of your inner child is crucial.

    I would suggest you also do an exercise called Big Me, Little Me. It is you talking to your inner child this is your core self. It is to go in and find how your core self (Little) is feeling and to keep track of how Little is doing and to find out how our Big Me has let our Little Me down and abandoned it. It might sound silly but we discover a lot about ourselves when we do this. When we hurt, it is because we have at some level let our own inner child down. It is our inner child who is hurt and feels pain because that is who we are at our core. Our Big Me is our outer child, the one who we are now complete with our coping mechanisms. When we apply these coping mechanisms we are going against our own core ethos. Instead of Little Me disguarding these strategies, Little made Big Me instead and held onto those strategies. Little Me, Big Me is designed to effect an open form of contact with our own core. So you sit down and write to Little and you as Big Me answer Little. Address any internal pain you feel or felt at whatever time you were/are most hurt. Then answer yourself as to why you allowed whatever it was you allowed to upset Little. It is designed so we can see where we let ourselves down. It is very useful.

    It goes sort of like this:

    Big: How are you feeling today little?
    Little: Terrible, you let me down again, I didn’t like the way that man was talking to me yesterday and you again just let it all roll along.
    Big: I didn’t realise I was having that effect on you Little.
    Little: You never do, you just ignore me and let me sit here all alone, crying.
    Big: I had to do that Little or he wouldn’t give me any piece.
    Little I’m sick of you and your running away from me, he pushes us around and I am screaming but you are just apologising and asking for more. I DON’T WANT ANY MORE.
    etc etc etc etc.

    I hope you sit back Jean, take stock of yourself. You will recover in time but it does take time and what you need to do right now is practice self love and self nurture. I am not talking about narcissistic love. We must lean to love and nurture ourselves. We must learn to love and nurture our own inner child – it’s high time. Our inner child has been sitting a lone on a rock for a long time it’s time we rescued that inner child and gave it the love and support it requires.

    I would also highly recommend you listen to some of the better life coaches out there such as Meridith Miller Inner Integration, Lisa A Romano and many others. You need to rebuild your self esteem. Acceptance and recovery are exceedingly important now. You are still quite young you know. 61 is not that old. You can still have many good quality years left so use them to make yourself happy and healthy. Don’t put yourself back in danger again. Talk to Little! -smile-

    God Bless Jean and may the force be with you! We are here for you.

  9. how many times have the CD in our lives just HUSTLED in and made it all about them, totally disregarding us and our own needs. When just ONCE did they really give a dam about what made us happy?

    When, just once did they truly care about how we feel?

    When, just once did they ever do something for us that made us feel truly loved and wanted by them?

    When just once did they ever make us feel like we are an important part of the relationship?

    When just once was it never about them?

    People I know are currently having reservations about their life and experience with CD – NOTHING CHANGES WITH THEM.

    This is an important fact to get around and on top of.

    Bright blessings to everyone! And you may you all get off this ride very soon.

    1. Eudox
      Sometimes they will throw us a bone – and those bones are what kept me in a bad relationship. So that “just once” I guess was a pacifier.
      I’m not through yet kicking myself for settling for a life with a SB. What a waste of life!

      1. Lucy

        No it isn’t a waste of a life and yes I am familiar with the crumbs of comfort they offer, not good enough is it? Please don’t kick yourself! Don’t misunderstand this but CD are our teachers. Yep believe it or not. They teach us what love ISN’T. They also send us spiraling into our dark night of the soul. This is actually a blessing because once we come out of that it’s actually like being born again. New insight into ourselves, new sense of freedom, we learn more about who we are and it helps us touch base with all our hidden flaws and our deep inner core. It makes us more authentic when we learn the lessons the dark night of the soul has to teach us.

        Think of SB as a blessing in disguise. Even though you would no doubt prefer to puke!

  10. Today is my mother’s 75th birthday.

    I did bake myself a cake, 1st day of the rest of my life.

    Last appointment with a counselor, don’t need one now.

    I thought about calling. But I am done.

    1. JC – good for you – I hope it was a fine cake! Please resist the temptation to call it is dangerous when you decide to go NO CONTACT and then break it. You will be endangering yourself. It’s much safer during the recovery process to keep NC firmly in place.

      Did you find your wallet?

      1. No, but I am going to be getting my driver’s license-I just need to get the learner’s permit and then test in a friend’s car-everything else was already replaced. That idiot came up to me at work, put his arm around me and says, “It’s okay, it will be over soon.”

        Yeah, buddy, make a comment like that and give an uninvited arm around my shoulder again, you will come up with a stump. 😛 Another narc. That one I can handle, the company has a zero tolerance for sexual harassment, as do I.

  11. Jean,

    A few decades ago my common law partner and I separated. He was the worst kind of alcoholic, a binge drinker who blacked out regularly. Alas, the blackout was the best part! Try to imagine the prelude…he would launch his flabby self across the living room in a fit of Kung fu moves, while playing air guitar. Then the Bruce Lee wannabe, would stumble around, WET his pants and pass out.

    Seriously, you had to be there to appreciate how morbidly amusing AND distressing this was…every weekend!

    And yet..I still felt a pull back to the man, after we split because I was scared. The fear and vulnerability played havoc with my imagination, to the point I had some sentimental feelings for Kung Fool. I call this morbid sentimentality and it has to be avoided at all costs! As soon as you feel stronger you will wonder how you could have had tender feelings for the schmuck. It’s a trick of a mind trying to maintain the status quo.

    1. LisaO, your description was priceless…kung fool indeed. Thanks for this.

      Morbid sentimentality is exactly what I had many years ago with a CD ex, I cannot for the life of me figure out what I ever saw in the a-hole.

  12. Sydney,

    For sure. Once you have made a clean break and the dust settles you look back and go, “huh??” I was very young at the time, so I figure that I stayed for such a long time because I didn’t know any better, was very anxious, shy and I didn’t have much confidence. I did feel sorry for him. He felt inadequate too. But, word to the wise, if your self esteem is low, stay away from the Jack Daniels. It’s not the go-to drink for wannabe martial arts experts. And if you’re inclined and want to drink that much, well…Depends??

    1. Did he actually ever do martial arts or was he just a big noting wannabe? Kung Fool how did it go when you called him that? Kung Fool LOL classic Lisa.

      1. No, he was way too clumsy for martial arts. He was someone with severe limitations who drank because he felt inadequate. When he was drunk his aspirations became clear. He wanted to be Bruce Lee or a rock star. Poor guy. A couple of weeks after I left he passed out while smoking a cigarette and nearly burnt the entire house down. I figured this would happen eventually…so glad I got out of there.

    2. LisaO,

      You described me to a tee, young (16) when I met CD, naive, impressionable and very shy. He was charming, witty, independent and swept me off my feet in his hot car after school everyday. I married him at 18.5 years old because I knew everything there was to know in the world, and yes my parents were worried. Our marriage was okay for the first three days, that’s how long he kept his shit together. There were red flags before the farcical wedding but he would talk me around.

      He isn’t the only CD I’ve crossed paths with but I’m not young, shy, naive or impressionable anymore. I can spot the f87kers a mile away now.

      It is no important to as you say “let the dust settle”, time is truly what is needed to get the proper perspective but it can be difficult if your lonely and alone.

      1. I have to say, Sydney, the paranoid sociopath I was involved with didn’t sweep me off my feet. He was oily and kind of creepy. Nobody swept me off of my feet until I was in my fifties. I had a natural fear of people who could emotionally destroy me, humiliate, embarrass me. So I avoided alpha males like the plague. I was very attracted to them though.

        The alpha male Narcisisst doesn’t age well. Everybody is familiar with the captain of the football team who retreats into nostalgia, by the time he is 25 years of age, gets fat, drinks and continues to think he’s HOT!

  13. I viewed each occurrence of breaking NC rule with the CDN an invitation to open the door to abuse, because EVERY time it was abusive. Be careful opening that door. Nothing good ever comes of it.

  14. Eudoxia,

    Thanks so much for the detailed response to my post. And the enneagram info is quite interesting. After reading through all of the numbers, I’d say I lean most towards being a 5. My core anxiety revolves around being incompetent in the physical world.

    When people question me or pick arguments in areas I have studied fairly deeply and thoroughly I can react narcissistically because I feel they are tearing down my one core competency. Because my energy is so depleted all I have left is my mind. Your info helped me understand why I react the way I do! Thank you!

    I have spent so many years socially isolated and this helps me to understand in what way I have strengthened along with how I have warped.

    1. Hi Lisa,

      It’s a great system I found it to be the missing link to that aspect of me that I could not quite fathom. The penny dropped big time. I rescued myself after nearly going into pathological destruction – anger was eating away at me from the inside. It was a real life saver. Once I discovered myself I found the others in the triangulation and I could clearly see how each of our personalities and early maladaptive schemas contributed to the horrific outcome. It was such a profound awakening that it dropped me to my knees. It was quite a few years later that I realised my brother who caused that triangulation was in fact a sociopath and it was more than just a battle of wills.

      It’s a real key if you ever want to take it further the book of Enneagram books to get is Understanding the Enneagram Risso and Hudson – it’s the Enneagram bible it explains how it all works and it is very fluid. It solves a lot of mysteries about people. If you ever meet a new love prospect it’s a good way to gauge what type they are and where they are on the continuum. It gives you great insight into the person sitting opposite you is at their core.

      Also it’s highly unlikely a 5 would suffer from NPD (but not not unheard anybody can) because once in the unhealthy levels in the continuum if a person does not recover themselves personality disorders can and will manifest. Fives would be more inclined toward Schizoid though which is Cluster A. The old guy I look after is one such beast. I am quite certain he’s Schizoid (very unhealthy) but he does manifest narcissistic traits. He does have empathy but he’s unfortunately the walking wounded, I think he is way beyond recovery at 77.

      You would not take too kindly to your knowledge being questioned or usurped – understandable it’s a 5 thing. Also Type 5 go to Type 8 in their direction of intergration. Type 8 go to Type 5 in the direction of disintergration. It’s a remarkable system, a gold mine of interpersonal information and is a psychology in and of itself.

      As I discovered Lisa just as you have no doubt and you have demonstrated it too. Once a person gets their ego in check we can have disagreements with others in healthy ways and don’t have to eat each other alive.

      1. Thanks Eudoxia. I have some narcissistic tendencies but yes, am not a narc. And disintegrating into a detached muttering nut bag is how I would disintegrate. I have schizoid and avoidant tendencies. Runs in the family.

        I like to think I am strong and think I have been tested, but when I read some of the stories on this blog, like Lucy’s, Btov’s and yours, I don’t know if I would hold up as well as you all have.

  15. Ugghh Sidney,

    My first boyfriend always struck me as being off somehow. But I was only 16, so what did I know? He was like Eddie Haskell on Leave it to Beaver. Seriously! And he was constantly telling me how crazy I was. Thank God it only lasted a year. I have since met people like him and they lurk around the periphery of life–petty criminals, etc…He was likely mildly paranoid sociopathic. His mother was a full blown CD of some kind.

    So glad we didn’t get married. What a horrific nightmare that would have been!

      1. Yes, what a trap, Sydney. My heart goes out to those who are trapped in a terrible marriage with cruel mates because they have children. It isn’t always easy to leave!

  16. Question for the group: I know I am smart, educated, but how long before you’re not saying, “Thank you, I am not stupid,” and as you know a CDN never says it directly, so her response was “NO ONE EVER said you were stupid.”

    Talk about bad tapes!!!

    1. When you heal JC not before. Part of that healing requires you to know yourself and until you do I do not think it is possible for anybody to truly heal. It is also very important to understand that while we may not be responsible for who we are we are totally responsible for who we become.

  17. Patti/Jean,

    The struggle with “did he ever really love me” is a very tough pill to swallow and it is a struggle and one that locks us in pain and suffering. The answer is NO. But don’t take my word for that this can only be something you can only ever ascertain for yourself. From listening to HG Tudor (self confessed and diagnosed NSpath) I have learned a great deal about their dark minds. I also booked an hours consultation with him in order for me to determine which school of narc my daughter was – he helped me immensely with working her out.

    According to him No they do not love us and they never did. In a romantic relationship what they do is mimick us and reflect back to us our very own virtues. Effectively we fall in love with ourselves. We are a source of fuel for them and nothing more. Worse is when we marry them we are no longer something special (which we thought and truly believed with all our hearts) but a form of competition. After all it is all about them. It is not a relationship it is a transaction.

    Further and this is from another source, once a narc says I love you it doesn’t mean they love us, it means they own us and we are expected to perform in a way that shines a big spot light on them – they are, after all the shining stars of their own production of which we are just a back drop. They can’t allow us to be happy and autonomous that means we might outshine them. This is not allowed in Narcland. They are the Kings of the Kingdom and even as a consort we are nothing but lowly serfs there only and specifically to supply them with them getting their needs met. Ours of course do not matter and never did.

    I encourage both of you to listen to HG Tudor – it will help you understand what goes on in the darkest mind on the planet – the CDMNSP straight from the horses mouth.

    1. Eudoxia,

      I absolutely agree, they do NOT love. It is so incredibly painful when our eyes finally open.
      ” Worse is when we marry them we are no longer something special (which we thought and truly believed with all our hearts) but a form of competition. After all it is all about them. It is not a relationship it is a transaction.”

      Wonderfully put Eudoxia!

    2. Eudoxia
      Thank you for the insight. I will look up your recommendation. I am having a difficult time wrapping my mind around this. Actually my husband was never one to say he loved/loves me. He always told me that he just cant use those words as his parents never used them…which I have observed to be true.

      However, lately I have felt that there was love but very shallow in nature and very conditional. Im still unsure and will take my time…reflecting more on this subject. I would imagine depending on how far along the narcissism spectrum my husband lies that his ability to “love” would be effected. That there is some degree of limited love but being middle of the spectrum also has the ability to compartmentalize and put those feelings aside to royally screw you over so to speak.

      Im not convinced either way but am going to read, listen, learn and think about it some more

      1. Patti
        It is a real quagmire I know. The key defining thing about them is lack of empathy. This is it they have it or they do not. If there is even a sniff or a hint of empathy anywhere in them then it may be a case of unhealthy narcissism at play but that can only be determined by you – personally. This is where your heart will tell you – “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free”. Trust your inner instincts and intuition.

        There is a narc test at the link below, it’s the one I used it may help you work it out. I hope you find it helpful.

        1. Eudoxia
          Thanks!!! I really appreciate the guidance. I am very introspective and analytical in nature so I am constantly educating myself. So much so that I have to tell myself to “take a vacation” from my problems.

          I have just taken the quiz you linked. Of course it is difficult as I am answering on behalf of my husband and he seems to fall just below/around unhealthy narcissism which is my gut instinct too.

          1. Jean, Patti and all of us who have traveled the same road,

            In the realm of indisision and unresolved emotions in a reationship with a CDN it s truly a difficult place to be, let alone making life changing decisions. Jean, we left our relationsip with trepidation and sadness, knowing it was the right thing to do, at the same time one of the most difficult and gut wretching decisions of our life because in our hearts we still loved them, so did I.

            Jean at the time we made our decision to leave we were in a desparate place, a very dark place, knowing we had to make a decsion that would decide our future and turn our whole world upside down and all around., to what degree at that time we did not know.

            There are so many factors to weigh in making the decision to leave after decades, but ultimately it boils down to saving ourselves, our souls, our very essence of who we are and perhaps to the point being one of the walking dead. Many stay and become a lobotomized slave, a doormat, a zero nothing for the CDN to use and abuse at their discretion, we in truth cease to exist. On the other hand their are a few that draw within and stay, safe guarding their soul, but indeed a hefty price will be paid in the end.

            Once we decide to go NC comes the time to realize we are no longer a part of CDN and have the right to make our own decisions. If we so choose we begin the journey of regaining ourselves or we can stay in an unhealthy state and attract the same type of CDN’s again in our lives.

            It isn’t an easy journey by any means, we have to deal with time, space, who we are and at our age being alone. The fear of being alone can in itself can be debilitating and that is what brings back all the fond memories of the CDN. The aloneness can bring on unregulated anxiety and a desire to go back to the CDN deluding ourselves with the thoughts “it wasn’t so bad and the if only’s.”

            We are lying to ourselves, it is a fantasy to think they will ever change or we could flourish in that kind of relationship. Jean, Patti, take a sheet of paper and make columns of the good qualities, the undesirable qualities, the bad things they did and lastly how it made you feel as a person, a marriage partner, friend, lover. Be excruciatingly honest, I guarantee if you are honest with yourself, if you look at that spread sheet as though it belonged to someone else, you would would be appalled and aghast with disgust that a human being could treat their spouse with such hatred, disrespect, and dishonor of their vows.

            Now we are left alone and it is extremely difficult, especially when the CDN knowingly, planned and successfully alienated us from everyone. Jean, I know this very well, it is not easy to start over at our age and much of what you have expressed runs parallel to me. Just different people, circumstances but in reality all the same.

            Never, ever, question your judgement to save your soul and sanity. Patti, if you decide to leave we can help you prepare because it wont be pretty, at the same time we will support whatever is your decision.

            There are so many dynamics involved in the making of a narcissist and we could discuss to infinitude, however, nothing will change except it will give you more foresight and knowledge to move ahead and set yourself free.

            Being alone and lonliness are two differnt separate states of being which I will expand on later. I think it is important to discuss these states in order to go forward and flourish. It is also important to learn to go forward, take chances and grow, by know means an easy task after all we have been through. Jean, I am going to contact Dr. Simon and let him know if you so choose to, to exchange emails. I believe it would be good for the both of us since we are both alone and in similar situations. I think it would be healthy for you and a big step in making contact with others.

            I found it is especially hard when one has limited family and for me most of the family are dysfunctional CDMNSP, and I practice NC except for my Mom and Sis that is disabled. My little rescue dog gives me immense pleasure and so do all of you that I have gotten to know on this blog.

            I also know the feelings of regret and missing the CDMN for the many good qualities and good times we did have together. When I left I loved him, I did not like or respect him, as I knew what he was doing and it turned my stomach. I loved him and still do as a wayward lost selfish child. This child is self destructive and more important brings destruction on the very persons that should be loved and revered in his life.

            All of you who are pondering whether the CDN ever loved you. I dont know your CDN or particular circumstances or their degree on the spectrum or continuum , this makes a difference. I have discussed this at length with many in the field and is difficult to discern for each case the answer may be different.

            In my particular case, there were instances I saw the real person, however, they were brief encounters and then the fake individual was back and the little boy was back in hiding. Yes, the CDN loved me in the only way his pathetic stunted being was able to. In my particular case the psycho dynamics of his person are deeply embedded and twisted, in ways right out of a text book.

            With the CDN there is so much at play in determining their true feelings and immense study, especially, since I am just a lay person. However, my open mindedness and study gives me a deep open insight into their thought process.

            Jean, Patti, does he love you or did he ever? I don’t know enough about your situations to answer that. What the CDN motives were for actually hooking up with you and marrying you are always suspect. Many covert, vindictive, sociopaths, psychopaths and individuals with mental illness, do not and cannot love someone.

            There are CDN’s who can love in a limited convoluted way, many haven’t a clue to what love even feels like. What we experienced in the beginning, infatuation, should be disregarded as the definition of true loves evolves over time, trials, reciprocity and dedication.

            From my experience the CDN only gets worse with age and since you are their nearest and dearest source of supply you will take the brunt of their pent up distorted feelings of what they feel they haven’t received in life. You will be the doormat and scapegoat for all their problems, real or perceived. Whatever, love there is is nil or so minuscule and distorted and out of context it will keep you dancing a jig and balancing the guinea pig wheel at the same time. In reality, you are a whipped dog, one that is petted, kicked and thrown a small bone to keep you in the loop.

            What is of importance here, is, we are able to love. We loved them and were true in the relationship. It matters what we are able to feel and be in touch with. We have no control over the CDN’s feelings only ours and that is the key.

            In the end the CDN derives immense pleasure out of destroying us, us, whom they could never be, the part of us they are aware of is lacking in them. Because they could never or will ever be able to attain this essence, they hate and will destroy us. The kindness they show at times is a ploy to keep us in the loop, keep us off balance and hoping for better things to comes. It is a sick dyad and when we realize the futility and understand it is our soul the sick CDN wants to destroy, in our heart of hearts we can garner the strength to leave and let go.

            We as highly sensitive and caring empaths feel love at a higher level than the average person. In many cases it can be a liability, or a gift, it does come with drawbacks as we tend to feel more emotional pain than the average. However, we can make this love work for us on a greater plane and become a stronger, wiser person of value to mankind. For you see, in the relationship we are the binding glue that held everything together. In fact we are the ones that are the binding glue and fabric that is holding society together right now.

            Yes, we can keep educating ourselves becoming more knowledgeable and then use that knowledge to help our fellowman. We must search deep inside and find our inner child and nurture them, find and be our authentic self, grow to new heights of inner peace and wisdom. As Eudox keeps saying:
            “Know Thyself.”

            These can be the best years of our lives or the demise of what is left of us. Just as it is a choice for the CDN to continue their selfish destructive behavior it is our choice to whither away morning for what could have, should have been or we can choose to turn our experience into a positive. Not an easy task by any means. This is why this blog is so important.

            This blog serves as a vehicle of information and knowledge, above all, it is a family of support encompassing others who have experienced life changing, shattering interactions with the CDMNSP that goes beyond any blog I have ever visited in promoting
            goodwill and help. This alone gives one strength and validation, a sense of belonging and understanding we all need in healing and to go forward.

            Prayer has been my saving grace in all this, I hope you can find peace and strength in this too. Know, we are all Kindred Spirits on the same journey and we feel your pain.

            Blessings and Hugs to All

  18. The creep who targeted me was obsessed with me and infatuated. It was intense and sincere. When he told me he loved me, he may have meant it — because he mistook infatuation for love. But infatuation lasts at most around 18 months. In healthy relationships friendship and feelings of affection grow as intensity tails off. What remains is real love. But with a P or N they figure YOU are responsible somehow for their own loss of intense feeling.

    Unless they are pulling an actual premeditated con, the target isn’t mistaken that they seemed to be genuinely interested in the beginning. They DID have feeling and obsessive interest. And they use all kinds of manipulative tricks to possess the object of their ‘desire.’ Their zeal to possess reveals itself in irrational jealousy early on.

    1. LisaO
      Thank you so much for this input. I can understand this. That they feel the “infatuation” and intensity which is why I speak of when I talk about the shallowness of their love.

      I also understand the love/hate that the CD seem to experience. Once they “possess” you they hate you. Or maybe they hate the fact that they need you. Or maybe they hate you for the depth of emotion that we possess and they are incapable of and envious of. Or maybe its a dynamic of the childhood parent/child relationship: the emotional incest created by the narc parent with the developing narc child

      1. LisaO,

        Every CD person is different in the objective for a relationship. In the love/hate experience you describe all the above is true and more. There are many who for what reason or another and not due to the parents fault become CDN too. Every CDN is not stuck in toddle time, although they act it. Many are developmentally arrested in their teens with toddle time attributes. In truth it is innate selfishness where the CD refuses to grow up and take responsibility.

        There is much speculation in the medical arena as to why and how the CD evolved, I think above all the valuable input by the victims of the CD lends enormous answers to these questions.

        I have to say this is an extremely complex and interesting phenomena on ones coping strategies. In the end it truly boils down to doing the right thing. Dealing in truth or dealing in lies. Being selfish or sharing. Distortion or reality.
        Choosing to do what Dr. Scott Peck wrote about so eloquently,

    2. To All,

      A friend of mine just left yesterday morning to go back home. They live on the southeastern coast of Florida right in the path of where Irma is predicted to hit. I begged him to stay but they had left everything open at their home and left their dog. The whole area has been evacuated. Please keep all the people who are experiencing these horrific and deadly storms in your thoughts and prayers.

      Thank you

      1. BTOV
        Your words are always thoughtful
        The difficulty I have is trying to comprehend that someone would want to build a life with someone they never loved in the 1st place but I can understand that perhaps its infatuation.

        I do love my husband but I dont trust or respect him whatsoever. Mentally I am in the process of leaving him. I cant be married to someone I dont respect or trust who disrespects me. In the end it doesnt matter where on the continuim he falls: these are my deal breakers.

        I am working towards separating but have to build my resources. I look forward to the day when I can be totally free from him. It wont be an easy journey but nothing worthwhile ever is.

        1. Patti,
          He built his life around you for many reasons. He didn’t want to be alone, foremost the CDNSP biggest fear is abandonment. He wanted children, financial security, constant narcissistic supply, a doormat, a vehicle to projects all his negativity and the list goes on.

          The older he gets the more you will be his scapegoat, he owns you in his mind. Never let on you are thinking of leaving, get as many things in order as you can. Be patient and don’t engage, be as normal as possible and in the meantime plan, plan, plan.

          Our Lucy, learned the hard way and is great at pointing out all of the things you need to know. Lucy works in the court system and has a wealth of knowledge she will share. She will also share her mistakes in not preparing and will give you all the help you need. Just ask.

          You are in a healthy position if you can see what he is doing, I felt the same way. Secure your heart, soul and mind and prepare. Don’t threaten divorce either, you will only tip your hand. You owe this man nothing, he is destroying you, a slow death of spirit is their ultimate agenda. Do what is best for you and be Smart about it.

          Remember, all divorces are sad, there are no winners, it is the death of a marriage and in this case as in mine and Jean we left still loving them or who we thought they we. It is the most loving and health action you can take for all involved. I will be like a death and you will grieve.

          I don’t know your whole story, only you can make the decision for yourself based on the facts you have and the validations of your experiences through gaining knowledge. I caution you, if you decide to divorce, have all your available resources in order, think everything through thoroughly, take your time unless he is violent.

          Depending on how sick in the mind he is will depend on how difficult it will be to detach. There are women who have to move to another state just to be followed by the lunatic. Don’t hesitate to ask, we will offer all the support and knowledge we have.

          Also, get rid of all history on your computer, hide any books you have anything that could alert him to what you know.

          Take you time and think things through while you can, be safe and take your time. Once you decide to leave and cross that line there will be no turning back. If you would go back the next time you want to leave you will not have the opportunity to plan.

          I caution you not to engage and be very careful. I am not trying to frighten you, remember this, the CDN respects strength and now you have to build it if you plan to leave.

          If you plan to stay, you can go back into the archives and read Dr. Simons topics on how to call the CD out. It all depends on individual circumstances though. Everyone’s is different.

          1. BTOV
            Thanks. Right now my ultimate goal is divorce. My husband is not violent so I am taking my time and getting my ducks in a row. It helps, knowing now what I am dealing with. I can anticipate his tactics and am less engaged in the emotional roller coaster. I am a very straight forward and direct person but have learned to be strategic and “secretive” when it comes to my dealings with my husband.

            I have improved setting my boundaries but not totally since this change might lead my husband to suspect that I am planning to leave the relationship. I keep all my books and documents in my work locker.

            I live in my husbands country so eventually after the divorce I shouldnt have to worry about stalking as I would move back to Canada.

            I know I will need advice going forward. For now I am slowly squirreling away money and planning my exit. I am very determined but patient and practical. I know I will grieve at the end as I love my husband (or who I thought he was) but I love me more.

        1. Patti,

          Please make sure you have gas and drive a good couple of hundred miles West. Get right out of its path. It is looking like a very powerful super cell storm. I expect there is going to be collateral damage please don’t be apart of that. Get to safety and if your husband wishes to stay them I suggest you there leave him there!

          1. Patti,
            You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. My friend went back to Fort Pierce, I am sick about it. He doesn’t use email or the internet. Please keep us posted to how you are.

            God bless and keep your family safe.

    3. Lisa – they are totally incapable of love. It’s the seduction stage of hooking you in. Once you are hooked in and firmly in place you are the competition. What they are in love with is the delicious fuel you supply them with. You are not there to compete with them but that is how they see it and I do believe it does cause them some constenation, however, you are there to supply them with a never ending source of fuel. The very minute (which is often) they perceive you as attempting to steal their thunder they launch a scathing attack on your character to put you back into your place as extension of them there only for the purposes of fuel supply. You are an obedient slave not an equal partner in the relationship with your likes, dislikes and unique abilities. That belongs to them and them alone and how dare you try to be yourself!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s not allowed in Narcland.

      1. Eudox, LisaO,
        IFor some, by no means all, I do believe someare capable of a form of love, to what extent I am not sure, it is a very immature, shallow form of love , of a context that is obscure and lacking in many facets of a mature love relationship. I am not sure I concur or like the term fuel or supply. I believe we are more of a security blanket, a positive energy source and electrical energy source the CD can suck dry to maintain their pathetic existence, we endorse and structurally hold up the false self. It’s like we are the beams that hold a building together from collapsing from outside forces, we are the pole that holds up the flag otherwise lies lifeless on the ground. We the empath are the true strength in dyad, a knowledge that many times reveals itself to late.

        Supply and fuel can cause confusion, a rather ambiguous terminology rather than we are the supporting force and strength the CDN count on to hold and prop up the false self. If we fail in strength the CDN may move on, on the other hand the CDN may draw enough strength to stay if the supplier of strength is a strong willed empath, in reality of a greater resolve than the CDN.

  19. Probably the single greatest sign of a P relationship is the phenomenon of, once they HAVE you, they don’t want you anymore. Game off!

    1. Lisa – I recently read this from another source entirely, not that I necessarily agree with it:

      “Once they actually do fall in love with you they are filled with a rage for you that even they don’t understand – they love you but hate you at the same time. They are that f**^*d up”.

      Personally I don’t think they loved us at all. The site I got that from the guy demonstrated an infantile knowledge of narcissism but that statement for some reason gave me something to think about. I think the reality of it is once they have secured us as a source of nourishment/narcissistic supply they see us as competition – a competition they must win at all costs.

      1. LisaO, Eudox,

        I agree, in many cases they don’t want you, once the game or challenge of winning you over is gone it may be over for some. The next stage is to take ownership. Yes, for some they love you in the capacity they are capable of, here’s where CD differ accordingly and progress at different rates. They hate you for the very qualities that drew them to you, the ones they don’t and will never possess. This explains the Jekyl, Hyde effect in this area of disturbance.

      2. “Once they actually do fall in love with you they are filled with a rage for you that even they don’t understand – they love you but hate you at the same time. They are that f**^*d up”

        This love-hate comment is psychological mumbo-jumbo to keep nice people in the shitland hoping that there is some love somewhere behind that obvious and visible hate.

        You are and will remain a glass of juice aka narcissistic supply for a narcissist. The only thing a narcissist hate is that he/she does not have absolute and full control over you. That he/she has to fake love or support love+hate kind of psychological mumbo-jumbo to secure you. I guess they feel so entitled that they think they do not need manipulation to control another free-willed person and therein lies the reason for hating that free-willed person.

  20. For every beloved soul who is still struggling with “did he or she ever really love me” if any and especially all of the below applies to you and your relationship with them then there is your answer.

    Toxic people do more harm than good.
    Toxic people cause more stress in your heart and life than comfort.
    Toxic people prefer bringing you down as opposed to lifting you up.
    If you are happier when they are not around then they are toxic to you.

    The Blamer: Blames you and others for everything that is wrong in their life, therefor avoiding responsibility for their own actions.
    The Complainer: Nothing ever works in their life, yet they do nothing to change it, just complain more. They get their energy from dumping their frustrations on you.
    The Drainer: Feels so needy that everything revolves around them and never shows any particular interest in you or how you are feeling or doing.
    The Shamer: Reprimands you and belittles your ideas in front of others while convincing you their actions are for your own good.
    The Discounter: Always has to be right and will continue to challenge in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary to the point of exhaustion – for you.
    The Gossiper: Gets energy by creating buzz about others and avoiding intimacy, thereby offering no safety in the relationship for you.

  21. The Sociopath

    Trapped in the mind of a two year old. They possess no cognitive ability to reason, cooperate or negotiate. They have not learned patience or how to give and take, to love or to empathise. Rather their life revolves around demands, ultimatums, greed, narcissism, bullying, temper tantrums and a plethora of other headache inducing demands………….and when nobody is watching, they probably eat dirt .

    Does anybody know somebody like this? I can think of one or two.

    1. Eudox,

      The CDNSP can appear to reason or listen to reason, cooperate or negotiate when in a position of control or want something. The CDMNSP can be very patient when the want something or its pay back pal. The more dangerous, controlled CDNSP’s are capable of all the above. One must never underestimate their vindictiveness. The CDMNSP can plot and wait years to fulfill their vengeful vindictiveness. This is how unsuspecting victims turn up dead……….

      When no one is watching they may just sink your body down a bog for the crabs and fish to eat, bury you in a wasteland or shoot you in the middle of a wilderness for the wolves and varmints to eat, bury you in a crawlspace or put your body in a vat of acid, and then they may just eat you themselves.

      Don’t forget the psysho’s they have caught on death row, Dalmer, Ed Guiene, Manson and so on. Many divorcing end up dead. Read about them, they walk amidst us. Again, never, ever underestimate the CDNMSP they are mentally deranged.

      1. BTOV

        I totally concur – The Sociopath was taken off a Sun Lion clip I was watching but the description actually resembles what Tudor would refer to as a lesser narcissist. The creature/s you are describing is unfortunately my daughter’s league of her particular ilk and a lesser she is not. Cold fury, slow ignition, high intelligence, high degree of plotting and conniving, envy and hatred for the maternal figures (both myself and my mother) high degree of grandiosity but not histrionic grandiosity (as in she doesn’t lord it all over others) she’s far more subtle and as sharp as razor wire. She’s the proverbial crocodile that slinks along the water slowly that you barely see it and never do until it has you in it’s jaws.

        I’ve heard ample stories she’s told people, they have made their way back to me – my God she’s pure evil. Both her and my miserable depressive (what she is God only knows) deranged, depressive, alcoholic, sister. She demonstrates symptoms of Borderline, Schizoid, Narc all rolled into one but I don’t know if that lot can actually bleed into each other given Schizoid is Cluster A. Both claim they had such terrible upbringings. I beg to differ. Typical stories told by highly deranged and delusional CD in order to garnish sympathy for their assholeism.

        [I am now about to address specifically CD – I understand Joey, JC and others’ positions and understand the actual abuse they suffered. I am not referring to people who actually are abused and suffer abuse by CD parents. When talking about childhood upbringings below I am absolutely referring to CD].

        As my daughter was raised by my parents (neither of whom where abusive) our upbringing was not bad and far from it. Sure my parents had their fair share of issues but they did the best they could. They just like everybody else on this planet suffer from the human condition. They may not have been the ideal Mike & Carol Brady but who is? As per the usual with all Cluster B – they ALWAYS without fail ALWAYS bang on about what terrible childhoods they had. This is just an excuse for the own malicious, deranged behavior. I no longer care what happened in a person’s childhood it is not an excuse for HOW THEY SHOW UP NOW and I’ll never be roped into that victim mentality of the deranged again. That is their responsibility and their responsibility alone. We may not be responsible for who we are but we are MOST CERTAINLY responsible for who we become. I have know people who had extremely abusive childhoods and did not turn into totally loathsome creatures who stalk, malign and destroy others. Living proof is on this forum.

        The thing that iced the cake on my darling daughter was once she had finished with her flying monkey squad she discarded all of them promptly. I’ll guarantee they are still scratching their heads wondering WTF happened. Once she had finished with them, she basically turned on them and but good, then never uttered another solitary word to them after that.

        Once Mum had passed away and the funeral service was over was the last time anybody heard from her. Except my son who she targeted next, she promptly went after his fiancee not him directly. She tried to drive a wedge between them by attacking, demeaning and maligning his fiancee who he is very much in love with. She had the absolute balls to do this in front of him. She failed and alienated both of them – they are now both NC with her as well. She has shattered this family. However in saying that it’s just what I needed to see. If those nearest and dearest to me can be turned into a foot soldier and dog of war for a deranged psychopath, they can shove themselves up their own ass – I’ve washed my hands of them.

        The last time I spoke to my son I asked had he heard from his sister he replied “what sister” I adore his fiancee – they are so good for each other. Thankfully her ex boyfriend was CD – so she knows exactly how they operate and has been able to identify all her behaviors to date. My daughter is so covertly manipulative she could have done a lot of damage to my son had it not been for his fiancee. They are both fully empathic, loving souls that no CD shall tear usunder!

        32222222222222222222< That's my cat saying hello everyone!!!!

        Don't worry BTOV underestimate them I will not. As far as I am concerned blood IS NOT thicker than water and I will not tolerate abuse by anyone. An abuser is an abuser and has no more rights than any Cluster B garden variety psycho, family or otherwise.

  22. Hi Eudoxia,

    The reason I reinforce the idea (and that is supported by some of the literature) that their infatuation was authentic is because of all the questions that I have seen arise about their natures, this one gives their victims the most turmoil.

    I know this blew my mind the most. It made no sense to me that somebody would want to talk to me hours a day and send me thousands of long winded emails. It was so over the top and unnecessary to win my affection.

    It only made sense through the twofold lens of understanding infatuation and the lens of practicality. Infatuatuon wore off right around the time he became aware that he would be no wealthier if we ended up together.

    The idea that someone would not only be conning me for money, (which was developing towards the end of relationship) but also went to such extreme lengths to con me emotionally made zero intuitive sense.

    I have read several times since that psychopaths DO enjoy the company of others and their reactions ARE human. What is different is they are utterly self centred, remorseless and vindictive if you get between them and what they want. Once you are of no use and diminishing interest to them, they drop you like a hot rock. It’s like you never existed.

    I am most interested in children like this as the parent child dynamic is so different!

    1. Lisa

      I fully understand your inquisitiveness in this regard but in all honesty does it really matter how they are made at the end of the day. It is a very tough call to determine. I raked my brain out trying to backtrack to ascertain how and why my daughter turned CD, was she born, was she made??? I wallowed and wandered in this wilderness for nearly 2 years.

      Nothing in the docs books could pin point it with her although with every single other one of them yes most definitely. He gave ample identifying behaviors – more than could possibly be denied but her background just did not fit. The only thing I could honestly pin point was abandonment.

      Then I stumbled upon the work of Dr Gabor Mate. He works with addicts in the US. He’s made a connection to addiction and abandonment. Dr Mate claims that all addicts suffered abandonment either real or proximal. Okay now he had my attention. My daughter spent the first 3 months of her life with me – I was very young when I had her. I was living at home with my parents. I wanted to move out and suddenly my life took another turn. My mother talked me into leaving my daughter with her until I got myself fully set up in the new place.

      That never happened exactly (long story) put it this way I managed to meet and fall in love with a schizophrenic. That was disasterous. Being young and naivette I paid a price. However my daughter ended up staying with my parents while I turned into mommey for a highly disordered individual all the while delusionally thinking when he gets better we will all be the happy family. He did not get better and tried to kill me one night. That was that – happy family over, dream crushed. I was left in a serious state of shock probably PTSD kind of shock but didn’t know it.

      Anyway that’s how my daughter ended up being raised by my parents – there is a lot more too it but I ended up moving up to the far north of the state to recover. I stayed up there. My parents where quite happy and managing fine with my daughter. They doted on her and she could not want for more. Problem is she had a double abandonment wound. Me leaving, then she was put into day care. This is what Dr Mate refers to as proximal abandonment. Also according to Mate if this occurs prior to the infant achieving and completing object relations they fail to develop empathy – TA CHING!

      I would suggest you listen to some of Dr Mate’s talks Lisa especially if this is of interest to you. I found it priceless. While Mate doesn’t address narcissism other than saying all children are basically narcissists and go through 2 stages of narcissism the first prior to age 3 object relations then again at about age 6. He only mentions abandonment relative to addiction. However, all narcissists and CD are addicts. They are first and foremost addicted to narcissistic supply.

      My daughter is gone – she’s full blown CD. There is no questioning is she / isn’t she anymore. People are really struggling to understand this type of question and desperately wanting to find anything they can to convince themselves their loved one/s are not CD. Sorry to say once specific behaviors are identified it’s pretty clear to me. They are dangerous and to be avoided at all costs.

      Kung Fool fits the description of what Tudor refers to as a lesser. You should check his talks out Lisa. He’s a real eye opener that one. What I would really love to hear is Dr Simon interview him not that would make for one hell of an interesting interview.

      1. Dr Simon,

        Would you please consider arranging interviews with both Varknin and Tudor? Whereby you would be the interviewer. Given your knowledge of their kind and them as their kind it would be very well worth it IMHO.

        As far as I am concerned your knowledge of these people exceed that of Hare and you would get into some hard hitting questions. It would be of as much benefit to you as it would to all of us here. While I can’t speak for the others, I am quite sure the others would also be interested.

        Many people are claiming HG Tudor is a fraud, I beg to differ. We need your expertise in order to clear that one up. Would you seriously please consider doing so.

        Many thanks Dr Simon

    2. Eudox,
      Cluster A & B can run together, the making for a violent mix. As I have said, most of us have brokenness. The typical and most convenient answer is to blame it on someone else. Easy I had a bad childhood, poor me, feel sorry for me. Do you know what lies and BS they contrive and the do-gooders fall for that spew of garbage completely, ignoring the true victims, the CDN victims that they have trashed and abused mentally and physically. All because the CDN plays the blame game and projects all their filth and lies onto another victim, their family of origin. Pure Evil.

      Good for you Eudox, Not a chance of blood being thicker than water. When a parent dies, the blood suckers come out, yup, gave birth to them and when do they show or care, when they smell money…………..

  23. LisaO,

    Having been brought up in a family of eight child and being the second oldest and a girl was given the responsibility at a very young age to be the caretakers of the younger ones. This gave me the opportunity to have direct contact and watch the development of their individual personalities form. I do indeed understand the dynamics of the who, what and whys at least in this family setting. Notwithstanding all the other CD I have had the fortunate and unfortunate contact with.

    Depending on the CD and what their particular diagnosis is and where they are on the continuum can feel a lot of different emotions. To what extent those emotions are felt can only be judged by their actions as most withdraw from giving any true verbal input.

    Just my opinion from what you describe in the person above sending thousands of emails and unending talking, (you didn’t say conversations) lends me to believe this person was not infatuated but had possible emotional insecurities of a mental disorder unspecified, but more so, the control and weasel work of a sociopath.

    The infatuation wasn’t about you personally, but your possible assets he could latch onto. Hence he wanted all the knowledge he could glean about you, your time and to control. I would warn all of you if you have assets to beware of the intentions of anyone of the opposite sex you encounter and assess their background thoroughly. Beware of sad sop stories and if they ask for money. Integrity and character are foremost character assets to assess.

    Yes, you are right about the psychopath, they mimic ones reactions and they can play one like a master violinist. They can be very alluring and are the most deadly as they are master chameleons in almost every facet. What is important is one can hone their Empath mindset, skills and above all your 7th sense of spirit energy , intuitiveness to feel their presence.. Once you open this inner pathway, regardless, of how deceitfully manipulative these evil ones are you will feel them, there is always a tell. When we become connected to our true selves, our authentic self and set our boundaries in proper alignment, they fear us.

    We Empaths that know our true self and worth are far stronger than these evil creatures of abomination. What you must remember is they love the sport of crushing another and seeing them squirm. We are mere objects and toys and more than anything they love to destroy goodness, which Empaths are.

    Above all CDMNSP know what they are doing, forget they had dysfunctional childhoods or what happened to them, they use this as a means for sympathy and to dodge taking responsibility for their actions. We all have brokenness and many empaths have suffered far worse than any of the CDMNSP and we don’t destroy others because of it.

    There is not one of these CDMNSP that don’t know what they are doing, the fact is they don’t care!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NEVER EVER FORGET IT!!!!!!!!!

  24. Btov,

    The P had no idea what my financial status was early on. I think he was obsessed with me (initially) and when that started winding down for him, he DID have a renewed interest in what else I might be useful for.

    You’re right that even though they may have intense interest in you, at the start, it is a controlling interest. Being obsessive with anyone is a bit obtrusive. Even in genuine non-P relationships, having someone thinking about you every minute of the day feels weird.

    Amd though I understand and TOTALLY agree that some romantic predations and apparent obsessions are purely manipulative, from the start, I wonder if some of them have intense infatuations as a form of compensation for their inability to bond in any other way? It’s not long term and its intense and thrilling. Possibly the best the jerks can do.

    1. LisaO,
      Don’t underestimate the P didn’t know you may have assets. They can smell it and with the openness of getting info its not hard to figure out a lot of someones personal business. Depending on who one knows finding out about someone is easy.

      No doubt they have infatuations in their delusional minds, ie., “Fatal Attraction.” It is best if one figures this type out to back out of the relationship in a slow methodical fashion exhibiting a persona of a disgusting moron. Ok, so we know this is a Nut Job, so start burping and eat everything that causes flatulence and let it rip, then start picking your nose, tell them you have herpes, anything to scare them off. Not a laughable situation to be in, however, I am having a good belly laugh. I will have to remember this if I unknowingly attract one of these kind to use the above methods. Ha Ha!

      1. Guys

        LOL BTOV – I got a good laugh out of that one.

        We need a new classification for these twapps – the nasty nose picking, tantrum throwing dirt eaters. Hey let’s refer to them as Dirt Eaters!

        While I am still trying to fully wrap my head around the old guy I look after – he actually fits that description of Dirt Eater with one very subtle difference. He actually does display very little, but there nonetheless, what resembles empathy. He does appear to genuinely love the animals and demonstrates a child like fascination for them. He most certainly did not complete object relations. I can’t even talk to him anymore when he’s in the same room bar basics. His conversation has deteriorated into total word salad and gibberish. Yet he still thinks he’s going to become a world class astrologer at 77. He can’t string two coherent sentences together, everything is says is none relative to anything stated previously.

        He’s a Type 5 Lisa but he’s a very demented, delusional one, who has the emotional intelligence of a 3 year old and the cognitive ability of a 5 year old. He tries to come across as intelligent and wise but given he’s 3 sandwiches short of a picnic as soon as he opens his mouth he’s starting to confuse people. When my friend was staying with me she had to repeatedly ask him to stop talking to her. He’s a dirt eater with a slight degree of empathy or maybe it’s is what is – simple childlike fascination. The animals seem to make him calmer put it that way.

        Let’s call them dirt eaters. That is what I have determined Old Mate to be.

        Please listen to Tudors description of what I feel strongly corresponds to Dr Simon’s Asocial pattern of disorder (page 68 Character Disturbance). Old mate fits the bill here also, I often thought he demonstrated schizoid, Auspergers like behaviors. He is a hermit- he holds up in his cave (his room) spends 95% of his life in his room and is incapable of full social expression – can’t really blend into any social setting – alienates people instead of engaging with them and adding meaningful dialogue to any conversation (don’t think he’s intellectually capable). He gets his jollies by disruption. I honestly can’t see how any of these guys can maintain or even obtain a romantic relationship they are that f**^d up.

        Here meet Lee

  25. They give me nightmares even now. I made the comment to my sister, and wasn’t serious, hope she kills herself, had a bad dream that I confronted her with “Why is it you hate me so much?”

    The dream ended when she drove a car into a trash compactor like the one at work.

    What a trip.

  26. There is me (girl), my older sister who is 5 1/2 years older than me (by adoption, the CDN, gave custody of her back) and my oldest brother, almost 8 years my senior.

    Addictions for my sister and me both saved us. My sisters kids, me it is recovery too. My brother, I feel bad for him, he walks around angry (unaware of it), resentful, and petrified of failure (everyone fails, humans are fallible, by definition), probably in disappointing his unhealthiest connection. He would benefit from AA.

    That gaslighting is so insidious, for me, began at a very early age, she turned me against my father because of the fact once he found recovery, is every bit the safe person (a book I read, by two Christian therapists) that she isnt able to be.

    The addictions she taught me to fear, and the parent she turned me against, represent what she is not capable of.

    A truly spiritual connection, possibility of change, healthy boundaries, power outside of self, and thats what a narcissist is and does. Teach about hate and fear. What is your problem and making you afraid of it.

    As soon as I said to get a psychiatrist for her own mental problems, I realized everything I did ro punish myself, stopped.

    Life did not just get better. It did at least a 180.

  27. To note, developmental psychology 101, the injury that stunted her own growth occurred between ages 2-7 (in the mid-1940s to 1950).

    She did not have a chance, God has compassion and mercy for that. For which I know makes each of us blessed.

  28. Patti,

    You are doing everything right, being patient and planning your exit. You will be just fine. You are One Smart Cookie!

  29. Patti,
    Safety deposit boxes can be traced. If you should decide to use one it would need to be in another persons name. The problem with that is, can you trust them, and if something should happen to them. Also, do not tell anyone except the most trusted person in your life. In divorces people who where once your friends no longer are, relatives choose sides. Dysfunctional jealous siblings will blab or for that matter people in general have loose lips and can sink your ship. Be very cautious and careful, mums the word………………….. Keep checking there is so much to think over and prepare for.

    Stay safe and keep your computer and phone cleared out. Do not use your real name posting anymore either…………………….. Better safe than sorry james or jo?

    1. Patti,

      A question for you, are you able to have any open dialog with him, any type of productive communication?

      Be safe in the next several days, know we all have you in our thoughts and prayers. God bless and keep you safe fellow Kindred Spirit.

  30. Becoming conscious of the means by which we are being gaslit is a devastating realization. For months I struggled with a situation not unlike that described by Dr. Simon. In my situation however, it wasn’t the ex that was gas lighting me. It was my daughter.
    Shortly after her visit to our home, I noticed that a brand new pair of black pants that I had purchased with her during a shopping expedition, were missing. I looked everywhere for the pants, rummaging through my closets, drawers, laundry room garbage, and car.
    The following day, I asked a woman who cleaned for us, to help us look. Maybe a third set of eyes would uncover the black pants.
    Everyday i would get up and start looking again, rummaging through the same closets, cupboards, etc. to find the black pants.
    I did not want to confront my daughter about my suspicions but I was beginning to feel as if I was losing my mind. The first time I raised the subject, by innocently asking whether she had seen them, she replied that “she hadn’t.”
    The second time I asked I received a very different and disconcerting reply, “No,” but I think it must be Sarah, the woman that cleans for you.
    It was in that moment that I became aware of the devastating reality: not only was my daughter was gas lighting me but she was putting the blame on an innocent third party to cover up her crime.
    A few weeks later, a new pair of black pants mysteriously re-appeared in my closet, concealed under a shirt to make it appear that they were there all along.
    More worrisome however, was the awareness of a much deeper psychopathology operating in our family.

  31. Welcome Molly,

    What your daughter did to you is textbook gaslighting. She wasn’t calling you crazy and making you doubt your sanity that way, she was creating situations where you might arrive at that conclusion all on your own.

    To further stir the pot she redirected suspicion toward someone else. You must have already determined something wasn’t quite right with her from past experiences.

    What a stressful and alarming thing to have to deal with!

    1. Devastating. The first time I ever experienced anything like this was a few years after I had left an abusive marriage. Without my authorization or knowledge she permitted her father access into my home. While he was there he removed a beautiful Balinese wood carving he had gifted me during the marriage. The divorce had been finalized and all the property had changed hands. It was a trophy triumphing his moral manipulation of our daughter, turning her into a co-conspirator against me. In other words, he taught her to steal from her mother.

  32. I am very late to this article, so I realize this comment may go unread. However, I wonder how you relate covert aggressive personalities to the DSM-5. My sense is that they are likely best described by Personality Disorder- Trait Specified. While covert aggressives often have narcissistic traits, I don’t think the Narcisistic Personality Disorder description fully fits: I wonder if the covert aggressive loves secrecy and manipulation so much those outweigh even their narcistic needs. At any rate, I would welcome your thoughts. I certainly appreciate your work – thank you!

  33. “But you can’t objectively validate your hunch. And that can make you feel pretty crazy.”

    “Who would put it in an empty shoe box in her closet? She knew she wouldn’t. And who would wrap the box in a ribbon? Then it came to her. And with the realization came the horror. It had to be Ralph’s doing.”

    If she didn’t physically witness Ralph doing the above, or have a recording of him doing it, though she has a reasonable suspicion (who else has access to her house, or is sick enough in her life to do such thing?), she can’t technically prove it, and he uses that to gaslight…

    …this must be incredibly frustrating, to know in one’s heart that strange things happening are the covert-aggressor’s doing but cannot successfully confront him or get most people believe her without proof (because he is reputable outside of the relationship or has infiltrated her life enough to turn her friends into their “mutual friends”).

    But I hope people in Marian’s situation have some people that they can trust and see matters objectively, because they need the support and not be completely isolated.

  34. Watching the Netflix series Dirty John Season Two brought about some old feelings I dealt with while being married to and then dealing with the divorce. The Season 2 focuses on Betty, who was married to her husband lawyer John, and how she was gaslighted for years so the divorce and custody would go according to his plan.
    I too was married to a lawyer, a malignant narcissist. Watching Betty go through the confusion then the reality of what the truth was and how she dealt with the anger and mixed up feelings that had built up in her really hit home to me. Having to deal with injustices in court, with lawyers, is nearly beyond what one can handle when dealing with lies and betrayals for an extended period of time.
    It caused me a level of anger that I did not know was possible within me. And how does one release that anger when there is no recourse because the behavior, to others, looks “crazy”. That is hard to deal with, when you’re emotions keep building up and there is no release. A doctor explained during one episode that it’s like a pressure cooker that keeps building and building and it can’t release, but when it does it is extreme.
    I don’t think that people who have never experienced this kind of trauma truly can imagine the suffering one goes through when being traumatized psychologically. It changes a person. It certainly changed me.
    I no longer suffer from the constant anger I had for quite some time, thank goodness. Somehow I healed. I hope others who suffer through this do as well.

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